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'Census will reveal figures relating to war'

Jan 17 (DM) Minister Champika Ranawaka said that a census in the war-torn areas was important as it would enable everyone in the arena to get an idea of the overall picture of what happened during the war. He proposed a census to be carried out in war-torn areas. “If a census is carried out in the Wanni District and other war-torn areas about the number of people who were living there, those who perished, those who fled and those who were taken away by the LTTE, more..

Move towards expeditious political settlement, India urges Sri Lanka

Jan 17 (Hindu) A political settlement to Tamils in Sri Lanka and a solution that answers the aspirations of the Tamil community…is the most important issue to be resolved, External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna told Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, here on Tuesday. During the 90-minute breakfast meeting between the two leaders at Temple Trees, a wide range of issues were discussed but the focus remained more..

Editorial: Diversions and dramas behind curtains

Jan 17 (DM) The fundamentals of democracy do not dictate thuggery as a means to attain public preference nor does it approve inconveniencing the citizenry for the luxury of a privileged few. However, with the recent incidents that had been flooding the newsrooms, it appears that public welfare is the last thing in the minds of those who are elected for the purpose of providing it. What is more infuriating however, is the lack of concern exhibited by the powers more..

Death threats to SSA members

Jan 17 (CT) A group of persons claiming to be from the CID issued death threats to those in the Socialist Students Association (SSA) Office in Homagama on Monday night. A group of around 20 armed men had stormed into the office premises at around 10.20 p.m. demanding the whereabouts of a person called Bandara. When the members of the SSA replied saying that there is no such person in the office, the men had begun accusing the members of the SSA of conducting underworld activities more..

Daily Mirror Cartoon

Sri Lanka small leisure firms on show

Jan 17 (LBO) Sri Lanka's small leisure sector players including many start-ups will showcase their services at an industry fair on January 31, where they can link up with larger players, officials said. "A large number of small guest houses, restaurants have come up in many areas some in very beautiful locations but there is little awareness about them, " deputy minister Lakshman Abeywardene said. "This fair will give them chance to link up with tour operators and others in industry" more..

Increase in import tax causes prices to rise

Jan 17 (NF) The importation tax on several food items including sugar and lentils have been increased once again. Accordingly, the tax per kilogramme of imported sugar has been raised by Rs. 10. As per the tax amendments which came into effect on Friday, taxes on sugar, lentils, garlic and palm oil have been increased. According to the Ministry of Finance and Planning the taxes on lentil imports have been divided into two categories for different varieties of lentils. more..

Implementation of LLRC recomendations crucial: Norway

Jan 17 (DM) While welcoming the ongoing bilateral talks between the Sri Lankan govt and the TNA, the Norwegian govt asserted that the implementation of the LLRC recommendations will be crucial for reconciliation in Sri Lanka. Hilde Haraldstad, Norwegian Ambassador to Sri Lanka, in an interview with the Daily Mirror said, “My govt strongly supports the ongoing efforts to bring forth a political solution through a continued structured dialogue. more..

UNP WC members shown video of Sirikotha attack

Jan 17 (SM) Members of the UNP working committee were today (16) shown a video which contained the mobs attack on Sirikotha last month. It showed the attackers as well as those who had encouraged them. The WC adopted a resolution to take legal and internal action against those responsible for attacking and causing damage to the party headquarters. The statement went onto say that the repair work would be undertaken with the support of party activists. more..

Activists stopped while on their way to North

Jan 17 (SM) Police have stopped a group of activists on its way to the north to campaign against disappearances and abductions. At the Medavachchiya police checkpoint, buses transporting them were stopped, with a top police officer telling them that they could not proceed further as the Sangupiddi Bridge has collapsed. Activists of the organizations against disappearances and abductions had questioned as to why only they had been stopped and how vehicles were more..

WikiLeaks: President has more respect for Gota than for Basil

Jan 17 (CT) “Although he trusts them both, our contacts say the President has more respect for Gothabaya than for Basil.” US Embassy Colombo informed Washington. The cable is classified as “CONFIDENTIAL” details the Presidend Rajapaksa’s decision making process. The cable was written on May 15, 2007 by the US Ambassador to Colombo Robert O. Blake. Under the subheading ambassador Blake wrote “President Rajapaksa relies on his brothers, more..

Shares slump despite more broker credit

Jan 17 (LBO) Shares ended weaker Tuesday, failing to hold on to gains in a sharp rally at the opening, despite the regulator allowing brokers to lend more money to buy stocks, brokers said. The main All Share Price Index closed down 0.08 percent at 5,924.61, while the more liquid Milanka index fell 0.67 percent to close at 5,012.41. Turnover was 1.39 billion rupees. The market ended weaker after rising sharply at the opening despite the SEC allowing brokers to lend up to more..

Buddhika says his stance won't change

Jan 17 (LBO) UNP’s MP Buddhika Pathirana stated that he would not change his stance regarding the reconstruction of the UNP despite the truce today. The General Secretary of UNP Tissa Attanayake stated today that the party and Pathirana had come to an agreement which is to be submitted to the working committee. “The disciplinary inquiry that was brought against me was citing wrongful allegations regarding my involvement with independent groups who contested at the Municipal Council election. more..

A/L results controversy continues

Jan 17 (DM) Bringing the controversial 2011 GCE A/L results to further chaos the Examination Department has released the results of the Russian Language paper on Monday without district and island rankings. Asked about the discrepancy by the Daily Mirror, Commissioner, School Exam Organisation H.J.M.C.A Jayasundara said if the rankings of 36 students were released with the results, the entire rankings would have to be changed and more..

Krishna, first Minister at IPKF memorial

Jan 17 (Hindu) Indian Foreign Minister S.M.Krishna became the first senior Indian Cabinet Minister to visit the memorial of the Indian Peacekeeping Force, established in the outskirts of the city. In his comments in the visitor’s book maintained at the memorial, he wrote: “It is a matter of pride for me to be here at the IPKF Memorial in Sri Lanka, raised in honour of those brave soldiers of the Indian Armed Forces, who paid the ultimate sacrifice while serving more..

Sri Lankan tourism model could benefit local industry and exposure

Jan 17 (MN) While Maldives niche market continues to draw elite dollars, Sri Lanka’s tourism industry earned more money in 2011 than its island neighbor, statistics suggest. However, the Maldives’ move into the mid-market sector could expand horizons for budget travelers and Maldivians alike. On January 6, Reuters reported that Sri Lanka’s tourist arrivals hit a record high in 2011 with a 30.8 percent jump to 855, 975; in 2010, the country experienced a 64.8 percent jump. more..

India, Sri Lanka ink MoU for next phase of Housing Project

Jan 17 (Hindu) The internally displaced Tamils in the north will soon be partners in building their own homes. They will build a majority of the 49,000 houses over the next few years after India and Sri Lanka on Tuesday signed a few documents to this effect. The MoU specifies the modalities for the next phase of the Housing Project being implemented with India’s assistance of about $260 million. External Affairs Minister of India and more..

India and China to take part Lanka's joint military exercise

Jan 17 (ST) Army Commander Lieutenant General Jagath Jayasuriya said that sixty four army personnel representing China, Bangladesh, and India will take part in a joint military exercise - the Diyakawa mission of the Sri Lanka Army in September. Eight teams consist of sixty four military officials are expected to join the training operation. Lt Gen Jayasuriya said that this is the first time that a large number of foreign military personnel will be working in a more..

MAS Holdings to set up new apparel unit in Sri Lanka

Jan 17 (F2F) Colombo based MAS Holdings, a leading apparel producer in Sri Lanka, is setting up a new factory in Kilinochchi district in northern part of the island country. The new apparel manufacturing unit being set up in once war affected area of Kilinochchi would be a world-class unit. Until a few years back, Kilinochchi was the administrative capital of LTTE, the internationally listed terror outfit. The new factory will be a part of MAS Active, a competition and more..

Sri Lankan sports minister orders probe into team's debacle

Jan 17 (PTI) Sports minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage has asked the head of the Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) to initiate a probe into the recent debacle of national team against South Africa. Sri Lanka crashed to 43 all out in reply to South Africa's 301 in the first ODI of the ongoing series, losing by 258-run margin, which was the third biggest in the history of one-day cricket. The total of 43 was also the lowest ever for the Islanders. more..

Undermining a popular regime considered inconvenient

Jan 18 (NS) Some regimes are popular, and remain so. Some quickly outlive their appeal. An unpopular regime could stay in power by deploying brute force with the approval of its friends. Bahrain is an illustration of this phenomenon. Of course, for reasons described below, countries like Bahrain do not come under sustained criticism from the defenders and ever present gurus of human rights. As we witnessed in Eastern Europe in 1989, mass discontent can drive more..

Role of trade unions needs to be examined

Jan 18 (NS) Apparently, intent on being as effective as former American President John F. Kennedy who in his famous 1961 inaugural address stated, “My fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country,” President Mahinda Rajapaksa, addressing the SLFP trade unionists recently said that an employee should not only think on what he should receive but also what the country should receive from him. President Kennedy, without more..

Sri Lanka abounds with rare flora

Jan 18 (SO) Sri Lanka stands unique among the biodiversity hotspots of the world. A remarkably high number of endemic species is found among our fauna and flora with around 23 percent of the flowering plants being endemic. Sri Lanka is home for about 3,360 flowering plant species belonging to 200 plant families. The low country wet zone and mountainous areas in the South West harbour 90 percent of our endemic species. Scientists believe that more..

“Great Leaders,” “Great Successors” Etc.

Jan 18 (SL) Nicholas D. Kristof, who is a regular contributor to the Op-Ed columns of the New York Times and a frequent visitor to North Korea over the past dozen years, had the following comment to make about the passing of Kim Jong-il and the paroxysms of grief with which the people of that country responded to the event: Nicholas D. Kristof, who is a regular contributor to the Op-Ed columns of the New York Times and a frequent visitor to North Korea over the past dozen years, more..

Now, it is very clear sir !

Jan 18 (SL) The Rajapaksa govt seems to be extremely careful, with issues they don’t have adequate answers for. They’ve withdrawn 03 Bills that were designed with much importance, since May last year, despite their two thirds majority. How will the Rajapaksas react ? The answer again is a dead horse, the horse they claimed to have killed in war. This is how the rationale for that is being developed. “While this problem seems to be mostly international, we must realise more..

Are our diplomats and hired PR firms doing enough in the international arena?

Jan 18 (SL) Nobody can accuse Jaliya Wickramasuriya, Sri Lanka’s ambassador to Washington, of not trying his best. But his best–even when nurtured by an expensive PR company–is evidently not enough. The genial and approachable Wickramasuriya was the subject of a widely circulated email last week. The title of it was, ‘When an Idiot was made an Ambassador.’ Wickramasuriya is by no means an idiot. Indeed, he is far from it. He is a businessman who more..

PSC: Best place to discuss the TNA demands

Jan 18 (DM) The Prime Minister came out of his residence having several papers in his hand. With his appearance, people became silent. Everybody wanted to listen to what he got to say. He was very patient. Firstly, he paid homage to the monks. He said "I never go against the wishes of Maha Sangha (Buddhist monks)". After making that announcement, he tore off the papers with him. The Buddhist monks chanted "Sadhu! Sadhu!". People cheered shouting "Jaya wewa!". more..

Defending Sri Lanka: Response to Michael Colin Cooke

Jan 18 (GV) The phrase ‘a man for all seasons’ being a compliment -which is clearly not the writer’s intent- I find Mr Michael Colin Cooke’s sense of irony rather leaden (read A Man for all political Seasons: Dr Dayan Jayatilleka). No matter. I have two options in responding. One is to enter a slugfest of quotations and ideological polemic, for which I simply do not have the time, and nor I suspect, do most readers. The other route is to address the substance, with a more..

Mattala int’l airport on track

Jan 18 (SO) With Sri Lanka aiming for a golden double of one million tourists and one million US dollars in revenue from tourism, and the country targeting nearly two billion US dollars in foreign direct investments and many developments taking place in Hambantota, a second airport was a crying need for almost a decade. Several new airlines too want to include Sri Lanka in their radar while the existing operators want to add capacity; more..

A strategic failure

Jan 18 (DP) Minister for External Affairs SM Krishna is in Colombo on a four-day visit after more than a year to chivvy up reconstruction projects in the north. He will also be visiting Galle but not Hambantota. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa in June 2010 that India would construct 50,000 houses for IDPs. That project was cleared recently. The Chinese were assigned the contract for construction of Hambantota Port in October 2007. more..

Sri Lanka takes a beating in South Africa -- not just in cricket

Jan 18 (ST) In the past week Sri Lanka's political leaders have been in travel mode, with External Affairs Minister G.L. Peiris touring parts of Africa, while a TNA delegation has just returned from South Africa, where four parliamentarians attended the African National Congress (ANC) centenary celebrations. South Africa was a conspicuous omission in Peiris' trip on account of Sri Lanka boycotting the event. The govt was displeased with the invitation extended by more..

Dutch Tamil Tiger five on appeal

Jan 18 (RNW) The Dutch court of first instance in its decision on October 21, 2011, said that the LTTE is not a terrorist organization. It then convicted the five defendants for giving money to an organization listed by the EU as a banned terrorist group. Supporters of the men and legal observers were quick to point out the apparent inconsistency. Representing the five Sri Lankan Tamils, who hold Dutch passports, defence lawyer Tamara Buruma told RNW, more..

CEPA discussions in March

Jan 18 (CT) Sri Lanka and India will start discussions on the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) in March, the Indian Industry and Commerce Ministry said in a statement on Monday. India's Minister of Commerce, Industry and Textiles Anand Sharma, the statement said, will discuss the CEPA with his Sri Lankan counterpart in March. The two countries have been discussing the details of a CEPA for over five years but the protests from local businessmen have delayed its signing. more..

Softlogic to build luxury resort on east coast

Jan 18 (LBO) Softlogic Holdings group plans to build a luxury resort on the island's east coast with an investment of 200 million rupees in deal with Ominga International, a statement said. The company entered into a shareholders' agreement with the shareholders of Ominga International Limited on January 13, 2012 for the construction of a luxury resort with 40 rooms and 20 luxury villas in Pasikudah. Under the deal, Softlogic shall own 66.66 percent more..

IUSF complains to IGP

Jan 18 (CT) The IUSF lodged a complaint with IGP N.K Illangakoon against armed groups issuing death threats to student leaders, today. A three member delegation of the IUSF met the officials at the IGP’s office and handed over the complaint. The delegation was headed by IUSF, Convener, Sanjeewa Bandara while the others were a lawyer and a union representative. Bandara told Ceylon Today, student leaders are now increasingly receiving death threats by armed forces more..

Editorial: The Z score bugbear

Jan 18 (Island) Anything that the present government touches turns into an unholy mess in next to no time. It, as we keep saying in these columns, begins to think only after leaping or specialises in putting the cart before the horse. How it totally mishandled issues like the private sector pension scheme, the mandatory use of plastic crates for transporting and storing perishables, the private university Bill and the oil hedging deal, is a case in point. more..

Sri Lanka draws 60,989 tourists in 16 days

Jan 18 (FT) Sri Lanka has welcomed 60,989 tourists within the first 16 days of the year and is expecting to end the month with 100,000 arrivals, Deputy Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardana said. Tracked with the online visa arrival scheme, the number, if it reaches 100,000, would be the highest-ever recorded, breaking the previous record of 97,517 in December last year. In January 2011, a total of 74,197 arrivals have been recorded, while in 2010 the number was 50,757. more..

Lanka’s longest tunnel gets water at auspicious time

Jan 18 (DN) The ceremonial release of water into the tunnel of the Upper Kotmale hydro electricity project took place at the auspicious time of 11.20 am yesterday under the patronage of Minister Champika Ranawaka. Water for the Upper Kotmale project is supplied from the Kotmale Oya through a 13 km long tunnel with a 5.9 metre diameter from Talawakelle to Niyamgamdora by opening its main gate upto 10 centimetres and three cubic metres of water is more..

Exporters appoint own ambassadors

Jan 18 (Island) With a tough year predicted for Sri Lanka’s exports sector, a leading export chamber has initiated a unique strategy appointing trade representatives in key markets around the world to help companies establish and cement business ties, promote products and provide logistical services for Sri Lankans taking part in trade fairs. The National Chamber of Exporters (NCE) is appointing trade representatives for major export markets and emerging economies after more..

Chamal to probe speculative news of his resignation

Jan 18 (DN) Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa told Parliament that an investigation would be conducted on baseless newspaper reports which said recently that he would be resigning from the post of Speaker and that the Prime Minister too would be changed. The Speaker said so when UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake questioned in Parliament whether the news reports which said that there would be changes in the personnel holding posts of Speaker, Prime Minister and Leader of the House were true. more..